Drawing a crowd, on and now off the pitch

Hussein’s story began with a passion for sports, specifically football and basketball. Athleticism was his comfort zone, a place where he felt at home, surrounded by teammates who shared the same interests. You might have read about Hussein previously, he’s part of the league-winning Senior Football Team. But his skills aren’t just limited to the football field.

One Wednesday evening earlier this year, Hussein came to Senior Zone as normal, with a plan to play football with the team, but he also brought a sketchbook to share with a fellow teammate. As he opened the pages, young people and the team were instantly captivated. The sketchbook was filled with artistic brilliance.

I’ve been playing pool with Hussein, where we’ve developed a healthy competition. He told me “I’m better than you” but at the moment, the score doesn’t agree! While we’ve been playing, I’ve learned that at college, Hussein studies science. He does art in his spare time, at home in his bedroom, to unwind and relax.

His passion is sketching, so we’ve been working on pencil techniques and shading to develop his skills. We looked at portraits of Tupac and Notorious BIG, exposing him to diverse artistic expressions. These encounters ignited a spark within Hussein, and he soon found himself drawn to this new avenue of creativity.

It’s really nice to see Hussein accessing more of what Mahdlo has to offer; his nights are now taken up with not just football but art, music, and getting involved in every activity.

With newfound courage and confidence, Hussein has brought friends and teammates into the Get Creative programme. More games of pool later, another footballer has started to develop his artistic side. Hussein is literally drawing a crowd around the arts table!

As his sketchbook filled up and his confidence grew, I invited Hussein to showcase his work at an Artslam event. The response was overwhelming. Everyone acknowledged Hussein’s immense talent, and it was a moment of validation that he had never experienced before.

The Get Creative programme isn’t just visual art though, along with his teammates they will be performing a cultural music piece, which they are developing with our music worker Andrew, at our next Artslam in August.

Drawing a crowd, on and now off the pitch
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